One of my many responsibilities as a parent is ensuring that the television programs my young apprentice watches are educational, wholesome, enriching and appropriate for his age (currently 20 months). As a public service, I present the first in a series of informative reviews of television programs geared toward preschoolers.
The Wonder Pets is one of Kyle’s favorite programs, and it’s not hard to see why: there’s plenty of music, oodles of cute animals and more music. Parents (and corporate managers) will undoubtedly appreciate the core message the show consistently delivers: that cooperation and teamwork are essential in any problem-solving effort. On the surface, it seems like the perfect show for young children. A closer examination, however, reveals that The Wonder Pets is one unfortunate example after another of parental negligence.
Each episode begins with Linny (a guinea pig), Tuck (a turtle) and Ming-Ming (a duckling) relaxing in their schoolhouse home after all the children have left for the day. Their leisure time is interrupted by the phone (“the phone is ringing!”), a can-and-string contraption that alerts the trio to a baby animal in peril. Donning capes and hats and assembling the flyboat (a vehicle constructed from a Frisbee, some markers and various other bits), The Wonder Pets race to rescue the youngling from some horrible situation using (“what’s gonna work?”) teamwork and music.
Once the chick, kit, fawn, foal, cub, joey or calf has been rescued, the irresponsible parents arrive on the scene, probably returning from the local watering hole, brothel or cock-fighting ring. Oh, sure, there’s the requisite gushing over how brave and amazing The Wonder Pets are, but rarely is there an explanation from the reprehenible parents as to why the children were left unattended in the first place. The best thing Linny, Tuck and Ming-Ming (too) could do to help the baby animals in trouble is contact the local Department of Children’s Services.
Coming soon: an intrepid explorer, a singing moose and a whiny turtle.